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The Great Wall

\The Great Wall, symbolizing China's ancient civilization, is one of the world's most renowned projects. It is a distance of 75 kilometers northwest of Beijing. Its highest point at Badaling is some 800 meters above sea level.Construction of the Wall first began during the period of the Warring States (476 ~ 221 BC). Formerly, walls were built at strategic points by different kingdoms to protect their northern territories. In 221 BC after the first Emperor of the Qin Dynasty unified China, he decided to have the walls linked up and extended.

Historical records show that about one million people, one-fifth of China's population at the time, were involved in the project which took more than ten years. When it was finished we call it "Wan Li Chang Cheng" which means "Ten Thousand-Li-Long Wall." Now, nature has taken over most of the Great Wall.

The Great Wall which we can visit was rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty in the 16th century. It extends from Shanhaiguan Pass, a seaport along the coast of Bohai Bay, to Jiayuguan Pass in Gansu Province. Its total length is more than 2, 700 kilometers.

There were many places of strategic importance along the Wall.

Fortresses were constructed at strategic points. Beacon towers were built on both sides of the Wall at commanding points. Whenever the enemy was sighted, bonfires were lit on the towers to signal warning messages.

At regular intervals along the southern side of the Wall, there are gates with stone steps leading to the top of the Wall. The top surface of the wall is paved with three or four layers of large bricks. It is 4 to 5 meters wide, enough for five horsemen to ride abreast. Along the Wall, there are parapets and battlements built of bricks and turrets and watchtowers at regular intervals.

\The Wall traverses mountains and gullies. It was extremely difficult to build along steep slopes under harsh conditions. Some of the slabs of rock were as long as two meters and weighed as much as one ton. All the rocks, bricks and lime had to be carried up the mountains at the cost of backbreaking labor. The earth and bricks were passed up from hand to hand or carried in baskets by donkeys and goats. The large slabs were moved up slopes by means of rolling rods and hoisting bars. According to rough calculation, the amount of bricks and rock used to build the Wall would have been enough to build a wall five meters high and one meters thick around the world?

The Badaling section is best the preserved part of the Wall. Several renovations have taken place since 1949. It is listed by the Chinese Government as one of the historical monuments to be preserved?

The Great wall runs 629 kilometers In the Beijing area? More than 100 kilometers are well preserved and two other sections at Badaling and Mutianyu have already been renovated for tourists both at home and abroad.

The Great Wall is the great creation of ancient Chinese people. It was listed by the United Nation’s Education, Science and Cultural Organization?UNESCO? as one of the World heritages in 1987.

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